This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC February 12, 2017 8:06am-8:24am PST
>> okay, jon, thanks very much. let's get the white house response now from senior policy adviser stephen miller. you might remember seeing him on the campaign trail as a warmup act for trump. now the young aide is involved in policy making. mr. miller, thank you for joining us this morning. your first time on "this week." let's begin with the breaking news. you heard jon karl's report. do you agree this north korean missile test did not yet cross president trump's red line? >> i did not hear jonathan karl's report. and good to be here this morning. what you saw last night from the president of the united states is an important show of solidarity between the united states and japan. a powerful symbol to the world as the prime minister of japan and the president of america stood side by side and shoulder to shoulder and expressed the strength and enduring nature of
the alliance. that is a message that will be lost on no one. >> did that test cross president trump's red line? >> george, the president's comments on this are clear. the message we're sending to the world right now is a message of strength and solidarity. we stand with japan and our allies in the region to address the north korean menace. and the important point is that we're inheriting a situation around the world that is as challenging as any we have seen in our lives. the situation in north korea. the situation in syria. the situation in yemen. these are complex and difficult challenges. and that's why president trump is displaying the strength of america to the whole world and it's why we're going to begin a process of rebuilding our depleted defense capabilities. on a scale we have not seen in generations. >> let's talk about the travel ban. you saw the action by the ninth circuit panel late this week. is the administration going to appeal to the supreme court? >> as you know, we have multiple options. we're considering all of them. we can appeal the emergency stay to the supreme court. we can take our case to the ninth circuit. we can continue the appeal to
the panel. and we can return to the district court and have a trial. on the merits. >> which are you going to do? >> additionally, we could pursue further exec tiive actions. all options are on the table. the point i want to make to you and your listeners is that we have equal branches of government in this country. the judiciary is not supreme. a district judge in seattle cannot force the president of the united states to change our laws and constitution because of their own personal views. the president has the power, under the ina, section 212 f, to suspend the entry of aliens when it's in the national interest. he has the same power under article two powers to conduct the foreign affairs of our country. we'll do whatever we need to do consistent with the law to keep this country safe. >> i know you hope to prevail. but you haven't prevailed yet. a lot of your allies think that the best move would be to replace the current executive order with a new one that exempts legal
permanent residents and visa holders already admitted to the country. are you thinking along those lines? >> the existing order does exempt legal permanent residents. >> that was the guide put out by the white house counsel. >> it was the guide that was put out by the white house council because that was the meeting of the executive order. that was the same fact that caused the boston judge to issue the positive ruling they issued. the reality is that this is not a disagreement about the law and constitution. there is no constitutional right for a citizen in a foreign country who has no status in america to demand entry into our country. such a right cannot exist. such a right will never exist. this is an ideological disagreement between those who believe we should have borders and should have controls and those who believe there should be no borders and no controls. that's the essence of this debate. the bottom line is the president's powers, in this area, represent the apex of executive authority. and we have multiple tools across multiple fronts to ensure that we're preventing terrorist
infiltration of our country and to ensure that those who enter our country share our values and support our people. something supported overwhelmingly by the vast majority of the american public. >> ideological disagreement, personal opinion of the
judge, those are your words right there. it sounds like you're calling into question the legitimacy of the judge. >> i'm calling into question the accuracy of the ruling. for instance, the district judge in seattle said that there was no indication of terrorism from these seven countries and our country. that is a factually false statement. we know there's at least several dozen, perhaps many more than that, cases of terrorism from these countries that have happened in the united states in terms of terroristic plots, terroristic activity, material support for terrorism, support for terrorism overseas. all didn't kinds of terroristic activities. tracing back to these seven countries. >> i want to move on.
we're seeing resistance and -- demonstrations across the country right now to the new deportation actions from the i.c.e. president trump put out a tweet saying the crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. gang members, drug dealers, and others are being removed. you have several cases with people that are not drug dealers and not gang members are being removed. and a lot of the protesters right now believe that the new executive order from the president says that any undocumented immigrant is now subject to deportation. isn't that true? >> well, first of all, i think we should keep in mind that the president does not make the law. congress makes the law of the united states. and if you, george, or anyone else, wishes to change those laws, there's a mechanism for doing so. secondly, the executive order gives i.c.e. officers the power to prevent crime before it happens by removing people that are a threat. i was on the phone last night with someone from dhs. they removed a gang member and a wife beater at 4:00 in the
morning, they arrested them. that person was on the radar screen for awhile. they were not deemed a priority by the previous administration because they didn't have the right kinds of convictions. that action will probably end up saving american lives or the well being and physical safety of american residents. all over the country right now, we're engaging in action to prevent the unthinkable from happening. during the campaign, president trump stood side by side with mothers who have lost their children. mothers like michelle root. an unaccompanied minor shows up on the border. to authorities, that person didn't seem like subject to remov removal. that person subsequently killed a young person named sara root. we don't want to be cleaning up this mess on the back end. >> do you think everyone being removed right now is a threat to national security? >> i think it would be improper, unethical, and wrong for me and the white house to pick up the phone and call an i.c.e. officer and say, we know you have encountered someone illegally. we know they have a final order of removal.
and we also know that they're a convicted felon. we would like you to ignore all of those laws. what would you say if i picked up the phone and called an fbi agent and said, i know you're investigating a convicted felon, they've absconded from justice, burn the file, go back to your desk, don't do anything. would that be ethical and appropriate action for me to take? we're going to follow the laws of the united states. and in following those laws, we'll prioritize the removal of people who have criminal records in this country. if we remove ten criminal aliens and end up saving as a result of that one or two or three or four american lives, then that is something that is magnificent because somewhere across this country today, there is some young child facing some unknown danger and that danger will be eliminated because of some enforcement action that we're going to take in the coming days. and that is something we should celebrate, not criticize. >> the executive order goes beyond those who have committed crimes. it's saying anyone subject to a deportation order can be removed.
i want to move on. because we've got this report in the dhs now saying that the cost of the wall is likely to be above $20 million. almost three times what the president said on the campaign trail. one, how much is the wall going to cost? the president says he'll bring the cost down and can you guarantee that mexico will pay? >> well, he can and will bring the cost of the wall down. there are many, many ways to obtain payment for the wall from our friends to the south. but the more important point about what you're asking, and i'm so glad you have brought this up. the media has done story, after story, after story about the cost of building a security wall on the southern border. i can't remember a time, george, and correct me if i'm wrong, that anyone in the media has ever done a story about the cost of amnesty. the cost of not enforcing our laws. or the cost of illegal immigration. this is quite remarkable. it's estimated illegal immigration costs our country state, local, and federal
benefits about $100 billion a year. stopping new illegal immigration, preventing the effects that will have on our schools, hospitals, welfare systems, wage earners will save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. this wall will pay for itself many, many, many times over. it's astonishing to me the media is so interested with how much it costs to secure our border and has no interest in the cost of what not securing the border is? >> of course, i meant $21 billion, not $21 million. how are you going to guarantee mexico will pay for the wall? they have said absolutely not. they will not pay for it. >> there's all kinds of things we can do. i'm not going to make news today with what the strategy is going to be. that's one thing different from this president from past presidents. we don't lay out all of our cards for everyone to see. i want to address briefly the issue about final orders of removal. this is such a great point. we have been lectured all week long about respecting the rulings of the judiciary. yet in the last 24 hours, we're being asked if we should respect
the rulings of the judiciary after final orders of removal have been issued. after the immigration lawyers and judges have had their say. then saying, well, there's 1 million people in our country who have final orders of removal. we, as the white house, should ignore that judicial proceeding. you can't have it both ways. you respect the rulings of the court or you don't. >> let's move on to the national security adviser general flynn right now. and the troubles he's facing. "the washington post"reported this week he did have contacts with the russians where he discuss eed sanctions. contrary to what vice president mike pence said. let's listen. >> i talked to general flynn yesterday. and the conversations that took place at that time were not in any way related to new u.s. sanctions against russia. >> of course, "the washington post" reports after talking to nine intelligence officials said that he did discuss the sanctions. and general flynn has changed his response. before he denied it. now he's saying he doesn't remember. number one, did he mislead the vice president? and how do you respond to
democrats like nancy pelosi who say that general flynn's security clearance should be revoked until the fbi investigates the contacts? >> well, i don't have any news to make to you today on this point. it's a great question for our chief of staff and the office of the vice president. >> then why are you coming on if you can't answer the questions being posed about the white house? >> i don't have any information that changes anything that has already been said by the white house on this matter. general flynn has served this country admirably and with distinction. he's a three-star general. he served in the intelligence agency. there is no information that i have as the policy director to this white house, to contribute any new information to this story this morning. sorry to disappoint you. that's where things stand. >> how can he continue to serve as national security adviser after misleading the vice president? >> i don't accept that what your question is saying is accurate. i don't have any information one way or another to add anything to the conversation. i understand it's important. i understand it's a sensitive matter. i'm sure you'll have an
opportunity to interview someone from the vice president's office or the chief of staff who can elucidate further. on this very sensitive issue. >> i should actually say we did invite the chief of staff to join us this morning. the white house refused to put him out. perhaps because you don't want to answer that question. a separate question on -- >> i don't know that that's true, george. but i think that they wanted to put me out here to discuss the very important issue facing our initial security and the problem of open borders and the threat of terrorism. >> it's true that we asked for the white house chief of staff. also, kellyanne conway. congressman chaffetz, the republican chair of the committee and his democratic counterpart, elijah cummings, have asked the head of government ethics to enforce disciplinary action for miss
conw conway. your thoughts? >> i think people are blowing this way out of proportion. you had the president of the united states sticking up for a member of his family. you had a counselor to the president making a light-hearted comment in defense of someone treated very unfairly. i think the media has taken it to a level it does not merit. i think anyone watching the interview would understand it's a light-hearted comment made in defense of somebody who was treated unfairly. and really, there's been an undue amount of attention given to this issue. >> jason chaffetz said she crossed the line. not just the media. the republican chair of the house oversight committee. on that point, because it gets to a deeper issue. sean spicer, from the podium, said the decision by nordstrom to pull the products of ivanka trump is a direct attack on the president's policies. sears and k-mart have decided to pull mr. trump's home furnishing lines from their websites. is that an attack as well? >> i don't want to comment on
that. i don't have any information for it. i want to say sean spicer is 100% correct. what he said is true and important. i agree with it. >> so then you are making a comment? >> i'm not going to make a new comment. i'm going to stand by the white house press secretary. i'm going to call for sanity in discussing this issue. you had a case where somebody was treated unfairly. the president stuck up for a member of his family. a white house counselor made a light-hearted, flippant comment. that nobody would interpret as being what it is cast right now the way you and others in the media have said. i hope we can move on to things that the american people care about, like jobs, wages, security. like the fact that we have a president who has done more in three weeks than most presidents have done in an entire administration. >> you sar no one questioned it. it was
questioned by the republican chair jason chaffetz. that is hardly no one. let me move on to the question about voter fraud as well. president trump, on voter fraud, suggested in a meeting with
senators, that thousands of illegal voters were bused from massachusetts to new hampshire and that caused his defeat in the state of new hampshire and the defeat of senator kelly ayotte. it's prompted a response. ellen winetraub said i call upon the president to immediately share new hampshire voter fraud evidence so that his allegations can be investigated promptly. do you have that evidence? >> i actually, having worked on a campaign before in new hampshire. i can tell you that this issue of busing voters into new hampshire is widely known by anyone working new hampshire politics. it's very real. very serious. this morning, on this show, is not the venue for me to lay out all the evidence. i can tell you this, voter fraud is a serious problem in the country. you have millions of people who are registered in two states. who are dead who are registered to vote. you have 14% of noncitizens, according to academic research, at a minimum, are registered to vote. an astonishing statistic. >> you can't make -- hold on a second.
you just claimed again there was illegal voting in new hampshire. people bused in from the state of massachusetts. do you have evidence to back that up? >> george, go to new hampshire. talk to anybody who has worked in politics there. everybody is aware of the problem in new hampshire. >> i'm asking you as the white house -- hold on. i'm asking you as the white house senior policy adviser. the president made a statement saying he was the victim of voter fraud. >> and the president was. >> do you have
any evidence? >> if this is an issue that interests you, we can talk about it more in the future. we now have our government is beginning to get stood up. we have a department of justice. we have more officials. an issue of voter fraud is something we're going to look at seriously and hard. the reality is, we know for a fact, you have massive numbers of noncitizens registered to vote in this country. nobody disputes that. and many, many, highly qualified people like chris kobak, the kansas secretary of state have looked deeply into this issue and have confirmed it to be true. and have put together evidence.
i suggest you to invite chris on to the show and he can walk you through the evidence. >> just for the record. you have provided absolutely no evidence. the president's made a statement. >> the white house has provided enormous evidence with respect to voter fraud. people being registered in more than one state. dead people voting. noncitizens being registered to vote. it is a fact and you will not deny it there are massive numbers of noncitizens in this country who are registered to vote. that is a scandal. we should stop the presses. as a country, we should be aghast about the fact that you have people who have no right to vote in this country registered to vote, chanceling out the franchise of lawful citizens of this country. that is the story we should be talking about. i'm prepared to go on any show, anywhere, anytime, and say the president of the united states is correct 100%. >> well, you just repeated, you made those declarations. but for the record, you have provided zero evidence that the president was a victim of voter fraud.
you've provided zero evidence -- hold on. you have provided zero evidence that the president's claim he would have won the popular vote if 3 million to 5 million illegal immigrants had not voted. zero evidence for either one of those claims. thanks a lot for joining us this morning. >> noncitizen voting is pervasive and widespread. we're going to protect our country from voter fraud. our borders from terrorism. and innocent men, women, and children from violent criminal illegal immigrants that need to be removed from this country. our country will create jobs, safety, prosperity, security, particularly for disenfranchised working people of every background, faith, and